What is a safe system of work?
A safe system of work is a formal procedure which results from systematic examination of a task in order to identify all the hazards. It defines safe methods to ensure that hazards are eliminated or risks minimised. Many hazards are clearly recognisable and can be overcome by physically separating people from them, e.g. by using effecting guarding on machinery.
When is a safe system of work needed?
A system of work is a set of procedures according to which work must be carried out. Safe systems of work are required where hazards cannot be eliminated and some risk still exists. When developing your safe systems of work, consider how the work is carried out and the difficulties that might arise and expose you or your workers to risk.
What if there isn’t a safe system of work?
A large percentage of accidents occur due to lack of or failure in systems of work. Implementing safe systems of work is an important part of workplace safety.
Is a safe system a legal requirement?
The law requires employers to provide systems of work that are planned, organised, performed, maintained and revised as appropriate so as to be, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risk to health.
How should you define safe methods?
It’s important to develop a set of procedures detailing how the work must be carried out, to minimise or reduce the risk of accident or injury. Systems of work must be communicated and understood by the relevant employees. The detail of the system of work, for example, whether it is oral or written, will depend on the level of risk and the complexity of the work involved.
What about potentially dangerous hazards?
When there are high risk activities, and there is a risk of serious injury or death, these will need to have documented systems of work which are strictly supervised and enforced.
Regularly review your systems of work to ensure that they still reduce or minimise risk and revise as necessary.
Safe Systems of Work can reduce or eliminate exposure to hazards but they must be strictly followed.
Accidents between forklifts and pedestrian workers
Forklift trucks are central to logistics operations, but the associated risks are high – particularly for those working alongside them.
Every working day, five lives are changed – in an instant – because of injuries resulting from accidents involving forklift trucks. You only need to take a cursory look over the HSE’s forklift accident figures to see how serious the problem is.
The British Safety Council state that:
‘The most recent accident statistics show forklifts are officially the most dangerous form of workplace transport in the country: injuring more people than Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV) or Large Goods Vehicle (LGV). In fact, 25% of workplace transport injuries are a direct result of forklift truck accidents.
Around 1,300 UK employees are hospitalised each year with serious injuries following forklift accidents, and that number is rising. That’s five UK workers each workday suffering debilitating and life-changing injuries, including complex fractures, dislocations, deglovings and amputations.
Insufficient segregation between forklifts and pedestrians is a common problem. Photograph: FLTA
Pedestrians are particularly at risk – accounting for 57% of those injured or killed in forklift accidents. This highlights the need for better segregation between vehicle and pedestrian areas of the workplace. This is a particularly pressing issue in high-traffic areas like loading bays, where pedestrians and forklifts are regularly in close proximity’.
How can you help to reduce these figures?
ZoneSafe’s Proximity Warning Systems create safe work environments by reducing the risk of accidental collisions between pedestrian workers and industrial vehicles.
How does it work?
Zonesafe uses radio frequency identification (RFID) technology that creates detection zones around vehicles, assets, crossing points and walkways.
Active tags are worn by personnel, fitted to assets or setup around hazards. They are identified by the system when entering the detection zone. This triggers an audible visual alert, warning vehicle operators of the tags close proximity to the vehicle. ZoneSafe tags do not require line of sight and will be detected regardless of obstructions, blind spots or poor visibility.
To find out more, visit www.zonesafe.net